Athletes know this trick for improving their performance. Professional speakers and musicians use it to overcome stage fright. Now, in the first study of its kind, a group of British researchers found it also works for people who want a healthier lifestyle.
Whether it’s eating a better diet, exercising regularly, or finding the time to use stress reduction techniques, you can improve your health with a simple two-minute technique.
Ready to give it a try? First, close your eyes. Then visualize the steps you would take to change your behavior. Do this for two minutes a day and see what happens.
Making positive changes that can improve your health begins with a strong intention. Visualization helps “set” your intention. The more vivid your visualization, the better. Remember, you’re giving a message to yourself. Make your images strong and positive.
Christopher Armitage, one of the co-authors of this published study, said, “Once people have a specific and fixed intention like going to a fitness class, or eating a healthy breakfast, then they’re really likely to go through with it. So finding a way to help people to change or fix their intentions is a vital step in improving their health behavior.”
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If you’re not convinced that this technique will work for you, ask any athlete, from high school football player to Olympic swimmer. They’ll tell you that visualization is an important part of their successful performances. Sometimes, the solution to a problem is just this simple.
So take a couple of minutes and sit down, relax, and visualize what eating right looks like for you. Or if it’s exercise you want, visualize your exercise routine. Think of specifics. And do it regularly, for three or four months. You’ll be amazed at the results.
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Armitage, C and Reidy, J., British Journal of Health Psychology, August 4, 2008.